22M deadly Takata air bags not repaired
Automakers scrambling to fix inflators linked to 13 U.S. fatalities
Washington — More than half of the nearly 42 million exploding air bag inflators recalled by auto supplier Takata have not been replaced and are still in cars on U.S. highways, posing a danger to drivers and their passengers.
Automakers say they are doing everything they can to boost repair rates for the faulty air bags linked to 13 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States. They say they have enough replacement parts for the free repairs and in some cases are sending teams doorto-door to track down cars.
Consumer safety advocates counter that automakers should be doing more, using all of their marketing muscle to convince owners of the danger. And they say the federal agency charged with overseeing the recall effort — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — has been without a leader since President Donald Trump took office, and is not doing all it could to make automakers accountable.
The recall of Takata Corp. air bags, which is the largest automotive safety recall in U.S. history, already touches nearly 13 percent of the total number of registered vehicles.
NHTSA says only 19.6 million of the 41.8 million air bags recalled by the end of October had been repaired. The defective safety devices from the now-bankrupt Japanese auto supplier were used in 34 million cars, and the problem is expected to grow. Another 20 million faulty air bags in newer cars are expected to be added in the next couple of years. (Go to www.nhtsa.gov/recalls to check if your car has an unresolved recall; you’ll need the 17-character vehicle identification number located at the lower left of your car’s windshield.)
The older the cars get, the higher the risk: Over time, high
Honda workers fix air bags last year. About 11.4 million of 17.7 million air bag inflators in recalled Hondas and Acuras have been repaired.